Raipur: Almost 24 hours after abducting Sukma district collector Alex Paul Menon, Naxals on Sunday put forward their conditions to release the IAS officer. The Naxals have demanded the release of eight of their colleagues arrested by the police. They also want anti-Naxal Operation Green Hunt to be cancelled and security forces to be withdrawn from the region. Naxals have given the deadline till April 25, for their demands to be met.
However, the Chhattisgarh government said that it has not received any official communication from the Naxals, who have abducted Menon, so far.
The Chhattisgarh government said it is verifying the source and authenticity of the audio clip sent by Naxals and will take suitable measures once it is verified.
The Naxal list includes the names of Marakam Gopannam, Nirmal Akka, Devpal Chandra Shekher Reddy, Shanti Priya Reddy, Meena Chowdhary, Korasa Sunny, Markan Sunny and Asit Kumar Sen, who are to be released.
The police on Sunday said that they had received information that Menon was safe even as spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh expressed willingness to mediate between the Naxals and the government. Agnivesh said that he was ready to mediate for the release of Menon and was waiting for the government or the Naxals to approach him. He also demanded that the state should use as little force as possible to resolve the situation.
Menon, a 2006-batch IAS officer, was abducted on Saturday at Majhipara village in the district where he was meeting villages for a government outreach programme.
Meanwhile, in a fresh appeal, Menon's wife Asha said the Naxals should release her husband saying that they were married only a few months ago and he had always worked for the people. She said that Menon had some health problems and was not carrying adequate medicines when he was abducted.
"He is an asthmatic patient and I request the government and the Naxals to understand that he is just left with two doses of medication," she said, adding that he would not be able to cope up with in case of an emergency.
Asha said she was keeping in touch with senior officials at the state and central levels and had talked to Union minister Jairam Ramesh and former Malkangiri collector Vinil Krishna, who had been abducted by the Naxals in early 2011 in Odisha. Krishna asked her not to lose courage, she said.
Appealing for his release, she said Menon has done a lot for the new district's development. "I would just request them (Naxals) to free him as soon as possible," she added.
Meanwhile, the two security guards who were shot dead by the Naxals before Menon's abduction were accorded a guard of honour at Sukma district headquarters on Sunday.
According to officials who were present at Gram Suraj Abhiyan programme at Majhipara village where Menon was abducted on Saturday, about 50 Naxals, including women, had come to the venue and taken away Menon after shooting two of his guards dead.